Before you decide how to make a 3D print heat sink, you must come up with a suitable 3D design. And, there are certain tips you can always keep up your sleeves when working with metal 3D printing (discussed later).
Choose a Design or Build Yourself: There are various designs available on the internet for laptop heatsinks. Laptop Stand by merthancioglu, 3D Printed Portable Laptop Cooler Pad and many other 3D designs are available online. You can either use any of these or create your own. You can also make changes to these designs for a few modifications.
Slice the Design: Use the 3D printer slicer software to create G-Code for the cheap 3D printer. Using the slicer software, you must slice the layers for printing.
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How to Make a 3D Print Heat Sink:
You can feed the G-code to the 3D printer to start printing. If there are any settings that need to be done such as bed leveling or calibration, you must complete those prior to starting the print. After the printing completes, you can check the working of the DIY laptop heatsink all by yourself.
Points to Consider When Printing with Metal:
As mentioned before, you must expect a fair amount of failures before you can perfect the design, in case you are working from scratch to model a heat sink.
In the midst of all these, there are few usual pitfalls that turn designs into a nightmare. And, these can easily be excluded from your 3D printing process. Taking special consideration of these constraints, one can easily overcome a few of the common mistakes.
Step 1: The Correct Wall thicknesses
Even if it’s metal, you cannot expect thinner walls to stay strong for long. These will collapse when printing under their very own weight.
Hence, one must ensure that the walls aren’t thinner than 0.5 mm. When doing so, a huge percentage of the battle against failed attempts will already fall in your favor.
Step 2: Hollows
Every 3D printer is different with varying constraints. Hence, the limitations levied for holes may also differ. Apart from that, the limitation will also vary depending on the metals used, as well as the design of the parts.
If you go by the books, you must not include gaps under 0.5 mm. In case the holes and gaps are smaller, they may become susceptible to merging together with the sides and filling into the empty spaces.
Moreover, if you plan to design gaps greater than 10mm, you must use support to successfully accomplish the task.
Step 3: Designing Overhangs
Once again, overhangs are tricky. And, if you include these in your design, you must not exceed a maximum of the maximum length of 0.5 mm. In addition, the structures facing downward must have chamfer having a concave shape (convex shape will also do the job).
Step 4: Use of Support Materials
Usually, support structures serve two purposes. The first reason is to provide a base for hanging parts of the 3D design to the build plate. And, also for heat dissipation.
Hence, if there are any areas in your design that are below 45 deg. from a horizontal surface, it would need a support structure. This is the same along with all the metals you choose.
Step 5: Working with Part orientation
You must know that with 3D printing, the parts created will have varying mechanical properties alongside different orientations. For instance, if you consider, the X and Y plane, the parts will showcase higher tensile strength compared to the Z direction.
This is why one must take extra caution when deciding the part orientation of the 3D model. It becomes even more important if you are printing a part that has to go through varying degrees of tension and pressure.
Not just that, the orientation also affects the surface finish of the parts. The face attached to the surface will end up with poorer surface finish when compared to the open surfaces, not in contact with the print surface.
Hence, if you are printing an object that needs to be impressive in certain areas, you must not forget to consider the part orientation. Moreover, the supports will also end up affecting the surface finish of the objects after removed. So, you must take care of that too.